A big part of Little Sunshine’s Reggio Emilia Philosophy is the belief that children are collaborators in their own learning. One of the best ways to include your children in an active, educational way is by cooking with them. This February, use Valentine’s Day as the perfect reason to roll up your sleeves as a family and create some tasty treats for the people you love. Here are 10 recipes that can help get you started.
Inarguably, the heart is the universal symbol of Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for a way to instantly connect your treats to the day of love, take a look at these heart inspired recipes that will have your kids thinking their professional bakers.
- No-Bake Heart Cookies (from Lifestyle of a Foodie) – A naturally gluten-free dessert, these no-bake cookies are sure to put the whole family in the Valentine’s Day mood. This recipe calls for a heart-shaped cookie cutter, but don’t let that stop you from trying this recipe if you don’t have one. Let your kids shape them by hand for “one-of-a-kind” versions.
- Puff Rice Valentine Lollipops (from FoodieCrush) – These are almost too easy to make, and your kids can get as creative as they want with the decorations. You can even wrap the tops in cellophane and use them as snacks to pass out on Valentine’s Day.
- Chocolate Shortbread Heart Cookies (from Two Peas & Their Pod) – For your toddler or preschooler who is ready to help with the mixer, this is a fantastic shortbread recipe to appease the chocolate lovers in your life.
Who has time for complicated recipes? If you’re looking for ways to get your kids in the kitchen without pulling out a million ingredients, check out these easy to make recipes that are low-fuss for short attention spans.
- Valentine’s Snack Mix (from Glorious Treats) – Easily customizable, all you need is a microwave to melt some chocolate, your favorite pink and red treats, and the ability to throw them all in a bowl.
- Love Bird Treats (from Red Ted Art) – Adorable and only five ingredients? Sign us up! Create as many or as few of these adorable, edible bird nests as you’d like.
- Heart Bark (from allrecipies) – This recipe only calls for five ingredients, and it’s a great one to use for both young and older kids. For children who are ready to be around hot ingredients, you can have them help melt the chocolate. For those who aren’t, focus on the decorating.
- Valentine Marshmallow Wands (from Sugar, Spice and Glitter) – Four ingredients, and one of them is a straw. Can’t get much simpler than that! These turn out great no matter how your child decides to engage. Every customized marshmallow tells a story about the person who made it.
- Mix-&-Match Pretzels (from Beyond the Chicken Coop) – Melted chocolate on a pretzel … you just can’t go wrong! Another customizable treat that gives kids the opportunity to personalize the yummy treats they are making. Bag these up and have your children give them to the people they love as a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Pink Is the New Black
If hearts are the official shape of Valentine’s Day, then pink is the undisputed color of the holiday. Here are a few recipes that are easy to make with children that celebrate the color of love.
- Pink Oreo Truffles (from The Kitchn) – Be careful with these … they are addictive! Think about how messy you want this baking experience to be beforehand. If your kids like messy, there are plenty of ways to make that happen with this treat! For those who need a cleaner workplace, make sure to get a scoop for the mix and a fork or other implement to help with the dipping.
- Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies (from In the Kids’ Kitchen) – This recipe goes through all the steps of making a cake, but you get cookies at the end instead! This is a great activity to practice measuring and instruction following for older kids. For littler bakers, they’ll still have fun dumping everything into a bowl and watching their creations rise in the oven.
There are lots of ways you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids. While you do, think about how those activities enrich their lives and engage them in the learning process. Creating Valentine’s engages their writing and drawing skills. Giving small gifts gives them practice with being generous and social. And baking with mom, dad, or grandparents lets them get their hands messy while learning how to measure, prepare, and work as a team. And let’s be honest … the ending results of an afternoon baking are great for everyone!